The Benefits of Zinc and Copper After Bariatric Surgery

What role does zinc play in the body and what are the ASMBS recommendations?

Zinc is important for:

  • Immune support
  • Wound healing
  • Cellular functions
  • Protein synthesis

The recommendations for zinc after bariatric surgery varies based on the procedure performed. The most common range recommended by the nutritional ASMBS guidelines is 8-22mg of zinc daily. 

Zinc dietary supplements and food sources

Even when zinc is included in a multivitamin after bariatric surgery, there is a possibility of deficiency especially if the primary absorption sites are bypassed (duodenum and proximal jejunum). If zinc needs to be supplemented in high doses, it has been shown to inhibit copper absorption, commonly leading to a copper deficiency. It is usually required to add a copper supplement as well or find a supplement that has the specific zinc to copper ratio in it. The ratio that is recommended by the nutritional ASMBS guidelines is for every 8-15mg zinc there must be supplementation of 1 mg copper. Zinc can also be found in some food sources including:

  • Oysters, crab and lobster
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products 

3 common signs of zinc deficiency

  1. Hair loss and brittle nails
  2. Loss of the sense of smell and taste
  3. Wound healing impairment

What does copper do for the body and what are the ASMBS recommendations?

Copper is important for:

  • Energy production
  • Immune function
  • Iron metabolism
  • Neurological functions

The recommended dosage 1-2mg of copper daily depending on the surgery performed. It is important to understand your nutritional needs and follow your healthcare providers recommendations because too much or too little of any vitamin/mineral can pose a health concern. 

What are some dietary food sources of copper?

  • Shellfish
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Wheat bran

3 common signs of a copper deficiency

  1. Anemia
  2. Hair loss
  3. Diarrhea and fatigue

When would you require a Zinc and Copper supplement?

  • If lab results come back abnormal or if you’re experiencing signs and symptoms that could be related to a nutritional deficiency
  • Decreased dietary intake of zinc and/or copper
  • Inadequate nutrient supplementation
  • Preoperative malnutrition

Increased need for zinc and/or copper should be determined by your healthcare provider to ensure there are no interactions with other medications or vitamin/mineral supplementation. They will also provide you a recommendation with the proper dosage based on your specific needs. 

Bariatric Fusion Zinc plus Copper corrective supplement

Bariatric Fusion has added a Zinc plus Copper supplement to our corrective line. It is possible for some patients to require a corrective supplement if levels have depleted after bariatric surgery. This product is offered in a small, quick dissolving, easy to swallow capsule.